Bring on the Snow!



Okay, so it’s officially winter in Wisconsin with our first significant snowfall of the year. Yeah, we got a little snow last weekend, but it was barely enough to cover the ground and melted the next day. We are getting a good dose of snow this weekend–6 to 8 inches by the time it’s all said and done on Monday. I am sure there are a lot of people in pulling their hair out over it, but I welcome it with my new tractor/plow combo!

Dad, Adam, Dan and I went to the Orange Spectacular this past summer where I found this attachment. For those who don’t know, OS is pretty much Allis-Chalmers heaven for those that bleed orange. A whole 3 days of nothing by AC tractors and equipment. There is a huge swap meet area for guys looking to purchase parts and equipment. I was on the lookout for a plow for my garden tractor this year, and I found one.

This was my Uncle Howard’s Allis-Chalmers 710 lawn tractor that he worked in on the deal for having us restore his Minneapolis-Moline tractor a few years back. My brother, Adam, overhauled the engine 2 years ago for me. The tractor had a hard time starting but after the rebuild has been running like new. I’ve been itching to use the plow since I bought it back in July. Now I have no problem pushing the snow out of the driveway.

I am sure I look ridiculous to my neighbors mowing a little lot with a 42″ mower or pushing snow down the driveway, but it’s fun for me! I have to admit that it has been a bit of a struggle for me moving off of the farm and into the city. That’s why it’s nice to have stuff like this to play around with–and it’s orange! The snow is still falling outside, which means there will be more fun to be had later. I can’t wait!

Overhauling the 710

My cabin fever is reaching its limit, and I am so glad spring has finally sprung. Living in town is an ongoing adjustment for me. I came from a farm with 180 acres to go and do whatever on, even during the winter months. I am thankful that we have a decent size yard for me to play with my tractor.

Still Plays With Tractors

I use an Allis-Chalmers 710 lawn tractor for mowing. It was built in the late 1970s by Simplicity, which was an Allis-Chalmers subsidiary. It’s equipped with a Kohler 241S single-cylinder engine. It used to be my great uncle’s tractor, but he had not used it in years. We got it as part of a deal to repaint his Minneapolis-Moline tractor. After 30 years of use, the engine is in serious need of overhauling. I was adding oil every week when I mowed last summer, and it smoked enough to keep the mosquitoes away! It is a fuel-efficient engine that sips gas. It was filled up full in May and I didn’t put gas in until end of August.

(Simple TrACtors)

Now that it is getting warmer out, I decided to pull out the engine and tear it down. It should be a nice little DIY project before the mowing season commences. I don’t have all the tools necessary to complete the project, so I am just tearing it down as much as I can at my house and taking it back to the farm shop to complete it, with some help from my brother (he is the expert on this stuff). There are some other small things that need to be repaired (batter wires, carburetor, etc), but hopefully it will run like new once it is all done.


The Forgotten Allis-Chalmers Lift Latch

In an earlier blog post I explored the history of the Snap-Coupler hitching mechanism equipped on Allis-Chalmers tractors. While conducting that research I discovered that two Allis-Chalmers engineers designed implement latching systems for tractors. The chief engineer at the La Crosse Works, Willard Tanke, submitted the design trademarked Snap-Coupler. However, another design was patented but never used on Allis-Chalmers tractors.


Wendelin “Shorty” Voegeli submitted his patent of a tractor hitching mechanism the same day as Tanke, August 13,1953. He began working at the Allis-Chalmers Farm Equipment Division in 1935.  By the time he retired in 1975 he had worked his way up to vice-chairmen of the Simplicity Manufacturing Company, an Allis-Chalmers acquisition. Voegeli acknowledged the submission of his co-worker’s patent, however he pointed out features he said “encumbered” smooth operation. His design allowed easier unhitching implements and increased safety. To add a more visual perspective to what this design looked like, I have a good friend who’s boyfriend created the coupling mechanism in a CAD program.

Voegeli Hitching Patent

Voegeli Hitching Patent

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According to the wording in the patent, the coupling device released from the stud journal when under tension. The coupling would detach from the stud journal if the implement tongue detached from the bell under the tractor, preventing the implement from swinging up and injuring the operator. To unlatch the implement the operator released the implement tongue under the tractor and drove away. The tension put on the coupler would automatically release it from the stud journal.

Voegeli’s design sheds some light on other implement latching mechanisms Allis-Chalmers engineers were designing. I thought a good way to learn more about it would be to talk to the man who designed it himself. Unfortunately Mr. Voegeli passed away in 2011, taking the background information of his design with him. It would have been interesting to know why the design was passed on in favor of Tanke’s. I would be very curious to know more about Voegeli’s design, and it would be more intriguing to see it work in real life.